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January 16, 2009
by Jeff Briggs
Somehow, in the divisional round of the playoffs, where supposedly the best eight teams in the NFL should be playing football, there were a total of 17 turnovers. Not surprisingly, the teams that turned the ball over more lost. Looking at each game: Six turnovers for the Panthers (one for the Cardinals), three turnovers for the Titans (none for the Ravens), two turnovers for the Chargers (zero for the Steelers), and three turnovers for the Giants (two for the Eagles).
Had I known the Panthers and Titans were going to become turnover monsters, I might have ended up going 3-1 again, but obviously I didn’t see that coming. During the regular season the Titans turned the ball over 17 times in 16 regular games, and the Panthers only 19 times, then all-of-the-sudden the two of them started giving away balls like it was Christmas. As far as the next round of the playoffs goes, all I want is two great games.
Last week: 1-3
Ravens (+6) over STEELERS
The Ravens are going to win the Super Bowl. Much like the 2005 Steelers, this team is getting all the breaks that Super Bowl winners get. They got out-gained 391 to 211 yards, let up 21 first downs compared to the 9 they earned, and yet got enough turnovers at opportune times and a missed FG and a lucky call helped them to pull out the victory.
But regardless of my thoughts that the Ravens seemed destined for the Super Bowl, even if I thought they were going to lose this game, they are still the pick here. This game is going to be close, very close. Six points is a ridiculous spread here when the two previous times these teams met this season the Steelers won by 3 (in OT) and by 4 (on a questionable call). Add in the intensity of the playoffs this game will likely come down to the very last minute (unless one team decides to have six turnovers, then anything goes). This is quintessential playoff football, two teams fueled by their defenses, with no love lost between them, killing each other on every play in the cold. Oh, by the way, good chance it will be snowing this game - awesome.
Eagles (-4) over CARDINALS
Oh boy, how I wish I am wrong about this game. I live in Philadelphia, I don’t need to have this city win back-to-back sports titles, unless that means their sports fans will stop being huge jerks, but we all know that will never happen. That said, the Cardinals probably wouldn’t be here this week if Jake Delhomme didn’t hand the game to them on a silver platter last week. The last time these two teams played, it was a Thanksgiving massacre, Eagles 48-20. But that game was in Philly, and the Cardinals had to travel to the east coast on a short week. This Cardinals team should put up more of a fight, but defense wins playoffs games, so the Eagles have to be the pick. No matter what happens, the Eagles will certainly spend their entire offseason debating if they should keep or get rid of McNabb and Reid.